How did the ‘Bambi Bucket’ get its name?


All photos by the author

A New Jersey Army National Guard UH-60M Blackhawk of the 1-150th Aviation Battalion of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst training with a ‘Bambi Bucket’. This lightweight, strong, flexible fire fighting bucket is utilized for fighting forest fires. The National Guard were photographed yesterday over Success Lake located within the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, Jackson NJ.

The Sikorsky UH-60M Blackhawk is seen here slinging a ‘Bambi Bucket’. It is quickly filled with water which is scooped up from the lake in a matter of seconds, is then flown over the fire line and quickly released.

The ‘Bambi Bucket’ was invented in 1982 by Canadian inventor Don Arney and SEI Industries Ltd. The ‘Bambi Bucket’ is made in a range of sizes from 72 to 2,590 U.S. Gallons.

But how did the ‘Bambi Bucket’ get its name? Folklore sometimes makes for a better story than the truth. Some stories attributed Don Arney’s iconic orange water bucket to be named after the famous animated deer. Others think that it was named for a sultry waitress named Bambi who worked in a fire-fighters bar in Boise, Idaho.

“Neither is true, and it’s not a sexy story,” admitted Sergio Fukamati, director of SEI’s firefighting division. He explained that in 1978, a marketer asked SEI founder Don Arney about a name for his soon-to-be industry-changing invention.

“Don had to come up with a name, and just out of the air he said, ‘We’ll call it the Bambi Bucket.’ Don was just joking, but his friend said, ‘It sounds good — it’s a great name!’” who has been asked many times over what the name means? (1)

Mike Colaner is the Editor-in-Chief of Aces High Aviation Photography.

(1) Vertical Magazine September 19, 2017

Mike Colaner

Mike Colaner is a native of Central New Jersey and still resides there today with his family. I always had a fascination with aviation with both NAS Lakehurst and McGuire Air Force Base nearby to my boyhood home. Upon graduating High School, I went to work for Piasecki Aircraft Corporation at NAEC Lakehurst. I worked in the engineering department on the PA-97 Helistat project as a draftsman. I soon enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served four years active duty with both the 2nd Marine Division and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. After completing my enlistment, I went to college and became a New Jersey State Trooper. I recently retired after serving 25 years and I am looking for my next adventure. I am very glad that I have been able to join this team and to share my passion with all of you.

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